How Travel Nursing Is Evolving: Post-COVID Trends and Predictions

Written by Health Providers Choice on Thursday, October 19, 2023 Posted in Industry News


COVID-19 had a profound impact on the healthcare industry, and travel nursing was no exception. Travel nurses played a critical role in responding to the pandemic, filling staffing shortages and providing care to patients in underserved areas. Now, post-pandemic, the profession is evolving to meet the changing needs of the healthcare system.

The impact of COVID-19

History will view 2020-2021 as a period of incredible stress and strain on healthcare systems. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about several key changes that shaped the travel nursing industry:

  • Disruption in the healthcare system: Hospitals and healthcare facilities were forced to adopt new practices and telemedicine options to curb the spread of the new virus.
  • Increased demand: As hospitals strained to accommodate the influx of patients, the demand for healthcare professionals reached unprecedented levels. Travel nurses became an essential part of the healthcare workforce.
  • Changes in regulations and guidelines: Regulatory bodies and healthcare organizations swiftly adapted to address the pandemic’s challenges. This led to changes in licensing, scope of practice, and guidelines affecting travel nurses, making it easier for them to respond to the crisis across state lines.

Post-COVID travel nursing trends

Now that the public health emergency has officially ended, travel nursing continues to evolve. Travel nurses are increasingly opting for shorter assignments, allowing them to explore more locations and maintain a flexible lifestyle. Furthermore, while the immediate COVID crisis has subsided, the demand for travel nurses remains high. Healthcare facilities continue to rely on them to maintain adequate staffing levels.

Compensation and benefits for travel nurses have seen significant improvements. This includes higher pay rates, bonuses, and additional incentives as healthcare facilities compete to attract and retain experienced travel nurses. Although contract rates are leveling off after skyrocketing for several years, they’re still higher than pre-COVID levels.


Future forecasts and predictions

While the pandemic may be over, travel nursing is still undergoing an evolution. Several trends are expected to emerge over the next few years:

  • Increased collaboration: Healthcare facilities are placing a greater concentration on teamwork and collaboration between travel nurses and permanent staff. This fosters a more integrated approach to patient care.
  • Greater demand for specialties: Specialized nurses, such as those with expertise in critical care or specific medical specialties, are in high demand. Travel nurses with these unique skill sets will continue to find prime opportunities.
  • Remote care demand: Remote healthcare services and telemedicine have become integral parts of healthcare delivery. Travel nurses with remote capabilities will be especially sought after.
  • Focus on mental health and wellness: There’s an increasing emphasis on mental health and wellness programs tailored to travel nurses’ needs. These programs help to ensure the well-being of nurses as they navigate the demands of the profession.

Broaden your horizons

The future of travel nursing is bright. Although the pandemic years were a rollercoaster, the horizon appears more predictable for those looking to broaden their career one contract at a time. The combination of new technology, a focus on provider well-being, and the normalization of travel nursing contracts is set to culminate in a profession that’s more rewarding than ever.

Are you looking to kickstart your career as a travel nurse? Health Providers Choice is excited about the future of travel nursing and ready to shape that future with you! Contact us online or call 888-299-9800 to learn more.
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About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.